Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I hate to brag, but I'm a bit famous for this cheesecake. I use the words "a bit" deliberately, though, as there are really only a handful of people who associate me with this creation. Still, when a co-worker asks daily for a whole year, "Where's your pumpkin cheesecake?," it's hard not to overestimate it's popularily...

The recipe itself is supposedly a "copycat" of the Cheesecake Factory's version, which I've never actually sampled, but imagine is extremely tasty. I've made it 3 years straight for my company's Christmas party, and this year, it made a special appearance at Thanksgiving, too.

A few comments on the recipe after considerable experimentation. First, this cheesecake rises VERY high, so it's imperative to use a springform pan that is at least 2.5-3'' inches high (lest it rise over the pan and explode like a volcano -- a lesson I learned the hard way). Second, if you're fool enough to try this in a high-altitutde setting, be prepared to bake for at least an extra 25-30 minutes (lest you end up with significant cracks due to repeated checking -- another lesson I learned the hard way). Finally, while it is not technically necessary to bake this in a waterbath, it sure does taste great if you do. Enjoy!

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake
(adapted from

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter , melted
  • 1 cup sugar , plus
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • whipped cream (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste.Keep it crumbly.

Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. (You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake.) Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan. Place pan in a larger pan (e.g., a roasting pan or 9x13 baking dish) and fill about half-way up with boiling water. Bake for 60-70 minutes.

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